President Lyndon B. Johnson 's Speech

1786 WordsMar 17, 20158 Pages
Amber Martin Engwr 300/Tu-Thu Burchett/Rhetorical Analysis Word count: 1701/1786 “We Shall Overcome” President Lyndon B. Johnson conveyed to congress, I think, the most exhilarating and legendary dialogues in the history of America on March 15, 1965. The speech occurred after the passing of an African American demonstrator in Selma, Alabama (History Matters). Demonstrators were protesting for African Americans to have the right to vote. According to Professor Pauley, teacher of oratory at Calvin College, “the speech is considered a landmark of U.S. oratory” (Pauley 2007). The purpose of Johnson’s speech was to persuade Congress to permit a bill on reform for voting, that all of the citizens of the United States would have the opportunity to cast their vote. To make Johnson’s speech more effective he used the rhetorical strategies of pathos, logos and ethos. The 15th Amendment, agreed upon in 1870, assured people their voting rights irrespective of race, only about 20 percent of the qualified African American population cast their votes because of harassment and prejudiced state regulations. Reading ability tests and ballot taxes are some of the examples of discrimination as practiced by certain southern states. Regardless of the passing of the groundbreaking 1964 civil rights law that made illegal discrimination in public and work related places centered on religion, race, sex, or state of origin, hard works to catalogue African American Southerners as registered voters were
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